Orioles' Bergesen back in majors, but can he stay in rotation?

Righty, demoted three times in past year, recalled as Hardy goes on DL

April 13, 2011|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

NEW YORK — Brad Bergesen was officially added to the Orioles' active roster Wednesday, replacing J.J. Hardy, who went to the disabled list with a strained left oblique.

But the question remains whether Bergesen, who is scheduled to start Sunday's series finale in Cleveland, can show enough consistency to remain in the rotation. When he was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday to make room for Chris Jakubauskas, it marked Bergesen's third demotion in about a year.

"It's a huge challenge," Bergesen said. "It's something that I was faced with last year and learned the tough way. I'm really just hoping to get back on track and hopefully prove that I am able to be part of the rotation and just contribute to this team."

What might help Bergesen most is getting a steady workload. The 25-year-old right-hander saw his preparation for the season cut short when he was drilled in the right forearm by a liner off the bat of the Minnesota Twins' Denard Span on March 25, his outing lasting just four pitches.

He threw two innings against Orioles minor leaguers March 30, the day before the team broke camp and headed to St. Petersburg, Fla., to start the season. But that wasn't exactly ideal preparation for his first big league start of the season, against the Detroit Tigers on April 6.

Bergesen lasted just 3 2/3 innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks. He started that game only after Jeremy Guthrie was hospitalized with pneumonia.

Asked about not being able to get into a routine, Bergesen said: "It's been tough, but it's the hand that I was dealt, and I'm just trying to make the most of it. Whatever they need me or whenever they need me, I'm just trying to prepare as much as possible."

Bergesen pitched two innings of relief against the New York Yankees on Wednesday night, retiring all six batters he faced, including two on strikeouts. The Orioles wanted him to get some work in before his start Sunday.

"With the injuries and all the things that we've had creep up, it's not an ideal world," manager Buck Showalter said. "But there's an excuse around every corner if you want to take it."

No problem with slide

There was plenty of discussion in the Orioles' clubhouse Wednesday about Texas Rangers star Josh Hamilton's headfirst slide into home plate Monday against the Tigers. Hamilton fractured his upper right arm on the play and wasn't shy about expressing his displeasure with third base coach Dave Anderson, who encouraged him to try to score on Adrian Beltre's foul pop-up.

Showalter said that he didn't view it as a bad play and doesn't discourage his players from sliding headfirst.

"It's like you tell somebody, 'Don't get hurt.' It's the game we play. Don't get me going. Coaching third base is an art," Showalter said. "There are just things you got to push the envelope on."

Smith has own celebration

The New York Yankees honored the national champion Connecticut men's basketball team before Wednesday's game, and its star, Kemba Walker, a Bronx native, threw out the first pitch.

The Huskies watched the Yankees take batting practice and followed them into the clubhouse. However, one member of the champs, forward Roscoe Smith, was more interested in showing his allegiance to the Orioles. The freshman finished his high school career at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, but he's from Baltimore and played at Walbrook, and he proudly showed off his Orioles hat to anybody and everybody, including Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Smith hugged Guthrie, who later got the team to autograph a ball for Smith and presented it to him, along with a box of sunflower seeds.

Around the horn

Showalter used the same lineup he had written out for Tuesday's game, which was postponed by rain. … Second baseman Brian Roberts broke an 0-for-13 slump with a single to start the game. … Starter Brian Matusz (strained left intercostals muscle) progressed in his throwing program and is on track to meet the club when it returns home next week and start throwing in front of pitching coach Mark Connor and bullpen coach Rick Adair. … Guthrie, who was hospitalized for two days last week, lifted weights Tuesday for the first time in nine days and said he's no longer feeling effects from pneumonia. … Hardy began getting treatment at the team's spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla. … Starter Justin Duchscherer (left hip strain) got an injection and will be re-evaluated in a couple of days. … Triple-A Norfolk won its first game in six tries Tuesday as first baseman Brandon Snyder had two RBIs in the Tides' 4-3 victory over Gwinnett.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jeffzrebiecsun

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